PESHAWAR: The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), under the guidance of the Relief, Rehabilitation and Settlement Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is actively working on its Winter Contingency Plan for the year 2023-24, said a spokesman of the authority here on Monday.
In an essential pre-winter planning and orientation meeting, Inayat Ullah Wasim, Secretary Relief, Rehabilitation and Settlement Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa presided over the meeting of Additional Deputy Commissioners Relief and HR.
Addressing the participants of the meeting the Secretary Relief said that this comprehensive contingency plan aims to mitigate potential losses resulting from winter-related natural hazards, including extreme low temperatures, fog/smog, snowfall, rainfall, landslides, flash floods, and seismic activity in the mountainous north and west.”
Inayat Ullah Wasim praised the dedication and pivotal role played by the district administration during rescue operations and the Relief and Rehabilitation phases during times of crisis.
He also highlighted the essential role of Additional Deputy Commissioners (ADCs) Relief and HR as the “eyes and ears” on the ground, responsible for monitoring and reporting on disaster situations. He stressed the importance of understanding and adapting to prevailing climatic conditions, acknowledging their impact on disaster preparedness and response.
Secretary Relief emphasized the significance of proactive planning to mitigate the effects of disasters, reinforcing that preparedness is crucial in reducing potential damage. He also stressed the importance of effective interaction with medical staff and healthcare facilities to ensure the availability of medical resources during disaster situations.
He further emphasized the need for a robust pre-planning and coordination mechanism to ensure that all stakeholders work seamlessly together during emergencies. He also addressed the importance of tourist preparedness, ensuring that the local tourist industry is adequately prepared to deal with potential disasters while prioritizing the safety of tourists.
Director General of PDMA, Janat Gul Afridi, outlined the Winter Contingency Plan’s approach, which stratifies districts based on Vulnerability and Risk Assessments, ranging from very high to low vulnerability levels. Each distinct weather pattern will have its tailored contingencies.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa unique geography, topography, and natural resources make it susceptible to various climate-related challenges throughout the year, be it in summer or winter. Comprehensive data collection tools have been developed and shared with stakeholders. These tools encompass information related to district/sector-specific hazards, vulnerability profiles, hazard impacts, damage assessments, compensation details, resource mapping, needs assessments, and coordination efforts.
Iqbal Wazir, Director of Disaster Risk Management at PDMA, elaborated on the proactive preparedness measures being implemented in line with guidelines stipulated by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). This approach aims to streamline responses at both provincial and district levels, ensuring seamless coordination among all stakeholders.
“We have initiated the Winter Contingency Planning process, fostering collaboration with all pertinent stakeholders. We aim to finalize the plan by mid-November, with our core objectives focused on proactively reducing disaster risks, hazard identification, risk assessment, and resource mapping to enhance our preparedness.
The comprehensive contingency planning for major hazards will facilitate the implementation of necessary mitigation measures and ensure a well-coordinated response to minimize the loss of life and property during disaster events.
This all-encompassing exercise encompasses resource assessments, hazard analysis, and estimating potential relief caseloads as part of the planning assumptions.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023